Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mushroom Tacos

Did you know that there are over 38,000 varieties of mushrooms? Of course, this number is including the deadly ones, too, but even when I'm at the supermarket, I'm overwhelmed by the choices. I can't decide which one I want to buy that day. Portobellos, baby portobellos, white button, oyster, king oyster, enoki, and the list goes on. As a high schooler (when I was so uneducated about food--still am really, but at least not as much) I was ignorant of such variety. The only ones I was ever aware of were white button (and I ate those only in a stew my mom makes) and the bright pink toxic ones that used to grow in our neighborhood.

I especially rejected shiitake mushrooms due to the smell, which I used to think was seriously terrible. When my mom had to rehydrate them for cooking, the whole house stunk, as did whichever bowl she was using days after it was used. But as I grew older, my tastes expanded and I began to eat a lot of vegetables and foods I steered away from before, shiitake mushrooms being one of them. Now, I just love the smell and I try to incorporate it and other types of mushrooms into my diet as I can.

Mushroom Tacos

When I read taco, I think of the crunchy shells filled with ground beef, salsa, shredded lettuce, and cheese. But the flavors in these tacos are a nice change from the usual. It's quick and easy to put together. You don't even have to eat them as tacos. The mushrooms can used for filling in a pita (which I used) or a wrap. Or even on toasted bread as an appetizer.

Mushroom Tacos

This recipe reminds me of these mushroom quesadillas I had at Don Tequila's in Lexington. Just sauteed mushrooms and cheese between two tortillas. Simple, but so good. I'll have to re-create that soon.

Mushroom Tacos [Makes 4 servings]
From Handle the Heat

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1 small serrano chile, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Fine sea salt
- 12 oz wild mushrooms or chanterelles, sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
- 8 tortillas (I used whole wheat flour, you could use corn)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or authentic Cotija cheese

1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the onion, chile, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Saute until the onions are translucent, a few minutes. Increase the heat to high, stir in the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms and deeply caramelized, stirring only once or twice.
2. Remove the pan from heat and add oregano and more salt if needed. Spoon mushroom mixture over warmed tortillas and sprinkle with Parmesan.

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